Might "Mike and the Mad Dog" get back together for more than just a brief on-air reunion?
That never has seemed like a realistic possibility in the seven years since they famously parted ways . . . until Monday.
It began when Michael Kay -- of all people! -- asked Chris Russo during an interview for the YES Network program "CenterStage" whether he ever would consider reuniting with Mike Francesa, his WFAN partner of 19 years.
Russo, who later said the question caught him by surprise and "threw me off," said this:
"Yeah, I would, definitely; I would consider it . . . Why not? I miss the camaraderie."
Hmm. Then Monday afternoon Newsday asked Francesa whether he cared to comment on what Russo had said, and whether he would consider such a thing when contractual circumstances allow.
"Yes, I would listen," Francesa responded.
Fasten your seat belts everyone!
Of course, that's a long way from becoming a reality -- and it almost certainly would not happen at WFAN -- but it illustrated something Russo said after taping the show, which is to premiere Aug. 12 after a Yankees-Indians game.
"There's a lot of radio flux going on," he said.
When the day began -- and when Russo spoke -- that went for all three men most associated with afternoon sports talk in New York this millennium.
But then Kay announced on his ESPN New York show that he signed a new three-year contract to stay at the station beyond Sept. 30.
Kay said he wrestled with the decision for lifestyle reasons and was leaning against re-signing but that his wife, Jodi Applegate, convinced him to stay because he otherwise would grow bored during the Yankees' offseason.
"We have unfinished business," Kay said on the air. "We should get better ratings than we get. We think we do a really good show . . . We are going up against a guy who's been there forever who's very, very difficult to beat. We'll continue to try . . . We're not in this to finish behind Mike."
Francesa has been openly critical of CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, and is seeking an exit from his contract before it expires at the end of 2017.
Russo has one year left on his second contract with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, one that came with significant cuts in pay, hours and managerial duties compared with his first. He also has about 11/2 years left on a deal with MLB Network's "High Heat With Christopher Russo."
"I'm going to be 56, 57 years of age, so still a long way to go," Russo said after the taping. "I haven't thought about it too much. I know this Mike [Francesa] thing is interesting. I've always said Sirius has been so good to me flexibility-wise, and [MLB Network] is the nicest place to work . . . It would be hard to give all that stuff up after all these years."
Russo has said often that while he enjoys SiriusXM, he misses the byplay of having a partner, and misses the fact that he no longer has home teams to talk about -- two points he made again Monday.
During the interview with Kay, Russo acknowledged ups and downs in his relationship with Francesa but insisted there were long stretches when they were close on and off the air. He also said he handled his departure in 2008 poorly. "I probably should have been up front with him right away," Russo said.
Kay and Francesa have had a contentious relationship, but Kay made only one mild joke at Francesa's expense Monday, saying after a video clip of Francesa laughing at a 2003 Russo rant, "I think that's the last recorded time that Mike smiled."
Kay asked Russo if he is surprised Francesa has remained No. 1 in the ratings.
"My ego will tell you, yeah, I'm a little surprised him remaining No. 1," Russo said. "In hindsight I'm happy for that; I really am."
Russo did not have many attractive non-satellite options when his deal was up two years ago, and it is difficult to say what the landscape will look like next summer given all of the "flux."
As for a potential reunion with Francesa, he said, "you never say never."
"Hopefully somebody will have me in a year or two," he said. "I have not talked to him about it; he has not talked to me. I will if the time comes and he actually sets a date [to leave WFAN] and says this is it. But I have not gotten into the speculation of it."
That makes one of us!